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“I knew I was innocent,” Man wrongfully arrested over legal handgun

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City police launched an internal investigation after a man was arrested due to a misread serial number.

Clifton Colston is now out hundreds and wants the city to pick up the tab.

It was a weekend outing in Oklahoma City that lead to a night stuck in the Oklahoma County jail.

"I knew I was innocent, but I was getting angry," Colston said.

This started back in March when Colston and a friend were pulled over in the southwest side of the metro.

"One of our police officers saw a vehicle commit a traffic violation and pulled the vehicle over," said Capt. Paco Balderrama with Oklahoma City police.

With body cam rolling through the stop, Colston told the officer there was handgun in the backseat.

The brand new Kel-Tec PF9 had been legally purchased the day before, with the receipt found in the vehicle.

With Colston in the back seat of an Oklahoma City patrol unit, the officer later located the firearm.

According to a police report, he looked up the gun's serial number through his Crime Information Unit, which reported the pistol was stolen out of Washington state.

"He pulls me out of the car and places me under arrest," Colston said.

Colston would spend the night in jail.

His friend, Nathan Casper, was arrested for city warrants and drug paraphernalia found in his pocket.

Days later though, Colston's case would open once again.

"I got a call from the detective," Colston said. "He tells me that, under further investigation, the gun was owned by me."

"It had been mistaken for another firearm identical to it," Balderrama said. "But, the serial number was one number off. So, it was human error that caused this arrest to take place."

All told, with bail and impound costs, the traffic stop could cost Colston upwards of $500.

But, he's claiming authorities damaged his car and he never gave consent for it to be searched, though body cam audio said otherwise.

While speaking with NewsChannel 4, authorities admitted a mistake was made, and they'd do what they could to see that it not happen again.

"The fact that somebody spent the night in jail, that's important to us, and that shouldn't have happened," Balderrama said.

As for paying the nearly $500 in fees, Oklahoma City police said Colston must first file a formal complaint, which he has yet to do.

Colston is due in court later this month for his original charge of making an improper right turn.

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